Inevitably, one garden chore or another is neglected. Not only in January, when I make an effort to do as little as possible, but through the year. The resulting calamity is predictable, but rarely are the consequences so dire as to cause any more than a few hours additional labor.
In recent days it’s become apparent that I forgot to spray the year end application of deer repellent that protects evergreens that are regularly damaged in the winter months. How apparent? Several azaleas have no leaves, and a few aucubas have leaves that have been nibbled.
I’m not too disturbed by either problem. The azaleas are evergreen, but they lose most leaves late in the autumn, so there weren’t many leaves anyway. I expect they’ll grow back quickly in the spring, but along with the foliage it’s likely that flower buds at the branch tips have also been injured, so there will be fewer blooms. Still, a small price to pay for my neglect.
One aucuba has been stripped bare of leaves, and another larger shrub has a handful of damaged leaves. The one with no leaves is the same one that was eaten a year ago when I somehow skipped over it when spraying other evergreens. Most of the leaves grew back last spring, though the shrub was much skimpier than the other aucubas.
Aucubas grow with sturdy, upright stems, but this plant is crooked to the side, as if it was crushed by snow. I don’t think this is the case. Instead, I figure it was stomped on by deer. Years ago loose cows from a neighboring farm meandered through the garden, leaving a trail of destruction. This is only one shrub, but I don’t think deer are any more cognizant of avoiding small obstacles (plants) than cows.
In past years, before I started to spray a repellent, I’d see some damage to camellias and arborvitaes, and occasionally a nibbled leaf or two on hollies. I haven’t seen any other signs of injury from deer this winter, and of course the wise course would be to spray now to avoid further problems. But, I find it difficult to get motivated in January, and particularly when the consequences of my inaction seem so minor.